Tips to Help You Avoid Post-Disaster Scams

September 1, 2020

Many of our staff and fellow community members have experienced great loss recently with the fires in our county - and some continue to do so as the fight continues. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a consumer-protection agency, recently released important tips to protect your identity and your money from fraud after a natural disaster: 

  1. Be skeptical of anyone promising immediate clean-up and debris removal. Some fraudsters will quote exorbitant prices or demand full payment upfront. 
  2. Before you pay for any service, ask for proper identification, proof of insurance and appropriate licenses. Don't believe anything unless it's in writing and properly authenticated.
  3. Avoid paying by wire transfer, gift card or cash for work you need done. And never make a final payment until the work is complete and you're satisfied. 
  4. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) doesn't charge application fees for funds. So, if someone is asking you for money to help you qualify for FEMA relief, it's likely a scam.
  5. If you need to rent a home at this time, don't wire money for a security deposit or rent before you've met the owner, viewed the home, or signed a lease.
  6. Scammers will often try to make a quick profit from the misfortune of others. Be cautious with where you donate your money. SCCCU is currently putting together a donation page on our website. Stay tuned for more details. 
Above all else, stay safe and healthy. Stay in tune with the area notifications and reach out to those in need. We know we can get through this disaster together!

Get the fire resource information you need here.

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